Does the developed world need to continue wasteful consumption in order to pull the developing world out of poverty?

John Cassidy of the New Yorker magazine in an article entitled Degrowth seen from the New Yorker wrote:

If major industrialized economies were to cut back their consumption and reorganize along more communal lines, who would buy all the components and gadgets and clothes that developing countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam produce?

If developing countries produce less consumer toys for the developed world then they can produce more basic commodities for themselves. There is such a thing as healthy growth. Everyone wants their children to grow into healthy vigorous adults, but in middle age we do not want them to be forty feet tall and getting bigger all the time. In order to live in an ecologically sane manner we need a reasonable standard of consumption. If many people living in relatively impoverished regions of the globe are living far below these standards then it is perfectly reasonable for them to aspire to growth in consumption that will allow them to reach this level. If the highly developed parts of the world are consuming at a level that a world of nine or ten billion people cannot hope to attain to, then our consumption should fall so that we can eventually meet the poorer parts of the world on common ground. From a systems point of view the lower the demand on resources required to meet that standard of consumption the easier it will be to attain to.

Of course the question of how to organizationally achieve such a result is complex. But it seem clear to me that one requirement is that we most evolve towards a system of providing credit whose primary goal is meeting basic human needs rather than chasing exponentially increasing monetary flows forever. The argument that the developed world need to continue wasteful consumption in order to pull the developing world out of poverty needs to be debunked.

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